Last service for Bricket Wood badminton club
A BADMINTON group which has been meeting for over 20 years is dreading the imminent closure of their sports centre. The over-50s badminton sessions at Bricket Wood sports centre, which take place three times a week and attract more than 50 members, will
A BADMINTON group which has been meeting for over 20 years is dreading the imminent closure of their sports centre.
The over-50s badminton sessions at Bricket Wood sports centre, which take place three times a week and attract more than 50 members, will be forced to shut up shop when the centre closes on Sunday, February 28, because no other venue can support its numbers.
Bricket Wood sports centre was earmarked for closure this time last year when the district council announced that, following the opening of a new leisure facility in Watford and to save funds for the redevelopment of Westminster Lodge, it would not be renewing its lease on the building owned by banking giant HSBC.
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At the time, the council's sport and healthy living portfolio holder Cllr Sheila Burton said that the new centre at Woodside offered much better facilities than Bricket Wood and that since its opening, the numbers of users at Bricket Wood had fallen off dramatically.
But former Mayor of St Albans and badminton enthusiast Arthur Knowles, 79, said that he relied on the Bricket Wood centre for his weekly exercise.
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He said: "There is nowhere else save the Bricket Wood sports centre that can offer us badminton courts three times a week. The council suggests Woodside as an alternative, but they only have one over-50s session a week!"
He added: "It is disgraceful that the council are closing our sports centre years before an alternative site in St Albans is due to open with the Westminster Lodge scheme.
"They haven't made any effort whatsoever to bridge the gap and they have left us to fend for ourselves."
Another badminton regular, an 80-year-old woman who wished to remain anonymous, said that she would miss the centre when it closed: "I have been going there for decades and I'm afraid to say that when it shuts, I will have to give up my badminton. It is too far away to play anywhere else and our group will be split up anyway because there is nowhere else that has room for us all."
She added: "I really like Bricket Wood Sports Centre because it is so close, it is lovely and clean and we can always use up to eight courts at any one time. There is also a great car park there and I am reluctant to travel to Watford because the parking there is always oversubscribed."
Cllr Burton said that she sympathised with the group's cause and added: "I am sorry that Bricket Wood sports centre is closing for those who enjoy the over 50s pay and play sessions, but there will soon be brand new courts at Westminster Lodge for them to enjoy."
She added: "We try very hard to mitigate the impact of closing centres such as the one at Bricket Wood by offering the regulars different pay and play sessions at alternative facilities throughout the district.